70th NBA All-Star Game Preview

70th NBA All-Star Game

By: Andrew Felton

NBA All-Star Schedule / cdn.nba.com


The 70th annual NBA All-Star game headlines a weekend which all NBA fans love to watch and be a part of, including A-list celebrities. However, this year, fans will not be present on Sunday, March 7th, in Atlanta, Georgia, due to COVID, as they are not allowed to attend the venue. Nevertheless, we can be assured with the lineup of stars this year, it will be something not to be missed.

The format for this game is similar to last year, two teams compete to win $100,000 dollars per quarter for their respective charities, each quarter will start 0-0, with the fourth being untimed and teams playing to a final target score. This score will be determined by adding the leading team’s cumulative score together then, adding 24 points as a target score representing and paying respect to Kobe Bryant's jersey number. The first team to reach the final target score will win $200,000 for their charities.


 

Western Conference All-Star team:


Lebron James (Los Angeles Lakers) - Captain

Lebron, who is currently leading the Kia NBA MVP race with 25.5 PPG (points per game), 8.2 RPG (Rebounds per game), and 7.9 APG (assists per game), is attending his 17th All-Star game and looking to add a 4th straight win as captain, previously beating Steph Curry and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Last season, Lebron added the 4th ring to his illustrious career with the Lakers, being named finals MVP, with a 4-2 victory over one of his former teams, the Miami Heat.


Steph Curry (Golden State Warriors)

Warriors star Steph Curry is due to make his 7th appearance as an All-Star, the two-time MVP is currently leading the charge for the Warriors averaging 29.9 PPG, 6.2 APG, and 5.4 RPG, with a hot hand shooting 42.3% from beyond the three-point line. Curry posted a career-high 62 points on January 3rd against the Trailblazers and after being out for virtually the whole of the 19/2020 season, Curry is back and in fine form.


Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks)

Doncic is returning for his second consecutive start as an All-Star and is arguably one of the best young talents in the game. The Dallas Mavericks star is currently averaging near a triple-double with 29.1 PPG, 8.6 RPG, and 9.4 APG. With the Slovenian superstar only 21 years of age, there is a lot of talk about him carrying the torch when Lebron retires and is destined to be a future NBA champion and multiple MVP.


Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets)

The Nuggets center, Nikola Jokic, has been selected for his third straight NBA All-Star game and becomes the first Nugget player to start an All-Star game since Carmelo Anthony in 2011. Jokic is the king of double-doubles recording 25 so far this season, in just 29 games, and is currently averaging 27 PPG, 11.2 RPG, and 8.6 APG, so will be worth keeping an eye on the 6 foot 11” Serbian star.


Kawhi Leonard (Los Angeles Clippers)

The former two-time Defensive player of the year and two-time Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, is making his fifth career All-Star appearance, after last year scoring 30 points in a 155-157 victory and became the Kobe Bryant All-Star game MVP. Leonard is currently posting 26.8 PPG, 5.8 RPG, and 5 APG, putting up multiple 30 point games this season, and will be looking to take the clippers to the NBA Finals this year.


 

Eastern Conference All-Star team:


Kevin Durant (Brooklyn Nets) - Captain

Kevin Durant, who is regarded as one of the NBA’s greatest ever scorers, will record his 11th All-Star appearance this year, after previously winning the All-Star MVP twice. KD did not have the start he wanted with the Nets last season, due to being injured for the majority of the season. However, with 29 PPG, 7.3 RPG, and 5.3 APG Durant is showing the NBA why he is a multiple champion and Finals MVP.


Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks)

Giannis has been chosen for his fifth straight All-Star game, after captaining the Eastern Conference team last season. However, he has been very vocal about having no interest in this game and feel players would prefer the days off to spend time with family during these difficult times. This being said the two-time league MVP has 28 PPG with 11.7 RPG this season, helping the Bucs to third place in the Eastern Conference standings, and will not be looking to lose again this year.


Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards)

After being ‘snubbed’ last season, Bradley Beal is set to make his sixth All-Star appearance, receiving the most fan votes in franchise history and leading the Eastern conference guard votes with over 3 million. Beal is currently having a monster season posting 32.9 PPG although has spoken about sitting out of the All-Star game, due to COVID and questions around safety.


Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers)

The Philadelphia 76ers franchise star Joel Embiid is looking to make his 4th straight NBA All-Star appearance, being the first 76er player to do so since Allen Iverson. Joel Embiid is currently posting 30.5 PPG and 11 RPG, helping the 76ers to the top spot in the Eastern Conference with 20 wins and 1o losses.


Kyrie Irving (Brooklyn Nets)

Kevin Durant's Nets teammate, Kyrie Irving, will be appearing in his 7th All-Star game and 5th as a starter. Irving is averaging 27.7 PPG, 4.7 RPG, and 5.6 APG, with 42.7% shooting from beyond the arc. After being another player who was injured for most of the 2019/20 season, but with the added trade of James Harden to the Nets, is this the season where Irving wins his second championship ring?


 

With the reserves being announced next week some of the players who could make the cut from the Western conference are Trail Blazers Damien Lillard who is shooting 30 PPG and 7.9 APG, Utah Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell who’s 24.6 PPG has helped them to the top spot in their conference, New Orleans Pelicans Zion Willamson who’s field goal percentage of 62% in the 5th best in the NBA and from the Eastern conference we could see the dynamic duo of Boston Celtics Jason Taytum and Jaylen Brown who are both averaging over 25 PPG, the third of the Nets big 3 James Harden thanks to his 24.4 PPG and 11.4 APG double-double average and Chicago Bulls star Zach Lavine, who is posting a massive 28.9 PPG with 42.9% 3 point shooting.

With this year's All-star game surrounded by controversy as many players have come out to say it should not go ahead due to COVID-19, this will still be a contest where the outrageous skills of the top NBA players will be showcased for everyone to enjoy around the world, including plenty of flashy dimes, throw-down dunks and lengthy 3’s.

It is very tough to predict a winner out of these two teams and with last year’s game being so close coming down to an Anthony Davies winning free throw, I think the experience of Lebron and the right draft picks, he will make it 4/4 as a winning captain in a close, intense, passionate game.


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